The West Haven High School Blue Devil Band...
From Humble Beginnings:
In 1963, Alton S. Crabtree Jr. (Mr. "C." to his students, "Skip" to his friends) was hired to teach music at West Haven High School. At that time, there were 17 students in the high school band. The addition of elementary school and middle school musicians was necessary just to perform field shows.
From the very beginning of his tenure in West Haven, Mr. "C." worked diligently, rehearsing, performing, touring, and most importantly, recruiting! It didn't take long for the high school band program to grow, prosper, and eventually become one of the most sought after performing groups in the area.
Under Mr. Crabtree's direction, the West Haven High School Blue Devil Band wrote a very impressive resume for itself, including performances in Canada, Florida, California, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Hawaii. They were selected to lead the Fourth of July Parade in Walt Disney World and Disney Land on 14 separate occasions and truly became West Haven's "ambassadors of good will."
At the time of Mr. "C."'s retirement in 2002, the West Haven High School Blue Devil Band had over 200 participating members, an active Band Parent's Association, and an incredible reputation. Throughout his 39 year career in West Haven, Mr. Crabtree devoted himself to building a successful program, and, more importantly, a Band Family, known and respected for its talent, musicianship, dedication, and continuous strive for excellence!
Carrying on the Tradition of Excellence:
Upon his retirement, Mr. "C." turned the reigns over to former West Haven High School Band Member and Class of 1995 Alumnus, Cassandra K. Marcella. Since that time, the band has continued to grow and of course to prosper, averaging 40 - 50 performances a year and continuing its annual performing tours.
In addition to working with the Marching Band and Concert Band, Ms. "M." has begun to build a thriving Jazz Band and ensemble program. West Haven High School has begun to compete in C.M.E.A. (Connecticut Music Educators' Association) Regional and All State Competitions and the Band has twice been named "Best Public School Marching Unit" in New Haven's annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade.
With the help of wonderful Student Leadership Teams, dedicated Band Parent Associations, and of course Mr. "C."'s continued assistance and guidance, Ms. "M." sees nothing but success ahead for the future generations of the West Haven High School Band Family.
39 Years of
Tradition and Excellence
Mr. Alton S.
Director of Bands at West Haven High School from 1963-2002
~ Mr. "C." ~
Thank you so very much for all of your
dedication, energy, and sacrifice in building our
West Haven High School Blue Devil Band.
You have left behind a legend that will not soon be forgotten.
We will do our best to carry on your
"Tradition of Excellence"
and as always, we will do it
Music Education at West Haven High School...
Marching/Concert Band - Musicians (MU 0705) - Band is a 1 credit course
that meets 8th period every day. In addition to class rehearsals, musicians are
required to attend summer rehearsals in late August as well as evening rehearsals approximately 2-3 times a month. Attendance at all Football
and Concert Performances is Mandatory. (No audition required)
Color Guard - Flag and Rifle (MU 0707) - Color Guard is a 1 credit course that meets 7th period every day. In addition to class rehearsals, Guard Members are required to attend summer rehearsals in late July and August as well as evening rehearsals approximately 2-3 times a month. Attendance at all Football and Concert Performances is Mandatory.(No audition required)
Chorus (MU 0711) - Chorus is a non-auditioned group open to all students (with Mrs. Silver's permission) who are seriously interested in learning and performing choral repertoire.
Camerata (MU 0716) - Camerata is an upper level female vocal group that is by audition only. Please see Mrs. Silver for more information.
Bel Canto (MU 0710) - Bel Canto is an upper level vocal group that is by audition only. Please see Mrs. Silver for more information.
Music Theory I, II (MU 0701, 0702) - Each section of
music theory is a .5 credit course that meets every day for half a year. These
courses are designed to help further note and rhythm reading skills as well as
understanding of major and minor key signatures, time signatures and other
musical concepts. Theory I and III are offered in the Fall Semester and Theory
II and IV are offered in the Spring Semester.
Music: Sounds and Styles (MU 0719) - This is a half year course (.5 credits) designed to familiarize students with various genres of music, including but not limited to Blues, Jazz, Rock, Hip-Hop, and Pop.
Music Today: A Survey of Popular Music - This is a half year course (.5) designed to familiarize students with various characteristics and artists of today's popular music, their lives and careers.
Class Piano (MU 0718) - This is a half year (.5 credit) course designed to familiarize students with the basics of piano playing and note/rhythm reading.
Other Performance Opportunities at West Haven High School...
Blue Devil Jazz Band (Tuesday Evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m.) - Jazz Band is an auditioned
ensemble that rehearses 2 hours a week and performs several times a year.
Auditions are open to all musicians at West Haven High School but priority is
given to W.H.H.S. Band Members.
Flute Ensemble, Clarinet Choir, Sax-tet (One day a week from 2:00-2:30pm) - These smaller ensembles are open to all interested musicians. No audition is necessary but regular attendance at rehearsals is a must.
W.H.H.S. Pep Band (Selected Away Football Games) - Pep Band is open to all musicians who are interested in attending various away games to support our football team. No audition or uniform is required. Rehearsals are held one hour prior to departure for each game.